Moody's Investors Service says that its Asian Liquidity Stress Index declined to 21.3% in September from 22.3% in August, the lowest level since December 2013.
The decline, the fourth in as many months, came as the net number of rated high-yield companies with Moody's weakest speculative-grade liquidity score (SGL-4) decreased to 26 from 27 and the number of rated high-yield companies increased by one to 122.
"The index -- which increases when speculative-grade liquidity appears to decrease -- remains well below the record high of 37.0% reached during the fourth quarter of 2008 amid the global financial crisis," says Annalisa Di Chiara, a Moody's Vice President and Senior Analyst.
"It is a bit above the index's long-term rolling average of 20.2% but still slightly below the trailing 12-month average of 21.9%," adds Di Chiara, who was speaking on the release of Moody's latest report on the index.
The liquidity sub-index for Chinese speculative-grade companies declined slightly to 20.0% in September from 20.3% in August.
And the number of high-yield Chinese companies increased to 65 from 64.
Meanwhile, the number with an SGL-4 score remained unchanged at 13.
China's high-yield property sub-index rose, to 15.4% from 12.8% while the Chinese high-yield industrial sub-index declined to 26.9% from 32.0%.
The Indonesian sub-index remained unchanged at 12.0% as the number of Indonesian companies with an SGL-4 score remained at three and the total number of high-yield Indonesian companies remained at 25.
Moody's downgraded the CFRs of three companies in September and upgraded six. The downgrade/upgrade ratio of 0.5 in September does not necessarily reflect a positive shift in overall credit quality and environment, but rather company specific events that have improved their credit quality and liquidity. Indeed, downgrades exceeded upgrades for the fifth consecutive quarter.
Moody's had assigned speculative-grade ratings to 122 non-financial companies in Asia (excluding Japan) covering $65.9 billion of rated debt at end-September, versus 121 companies and $65.0 billion of rated debt at end-August.